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Press Releases :: July 14, 2009

Subcommittee Investigates Ways to Improve Solar and Wind Energy to Meet Americans Needs

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the status of wind and solar energy research and development (R&D) programs and discuss the need for a comprehensive plan to guide future activities. In addition, Members received testimony on H.R. 3165, the Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2009.

“We must harness the power of science to access the almost limitless renewable energy in our own backyard,” said Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA). “According to a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the accessible wind potential in just 12 states could power the entire country twice over, without using a drop of foreign oil.  Researching how to best access these resources is both good economic policy, and good national security policy.”
H.R. 3165, authored by Energy and Environment Subcommittee Vice Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY), would authorize a comprehensive research, development, and demonstration program to advance wind energy technologies.
“In order to continue implementing renewable energy domestically, we must ensure that it is the safest, most reliable and most efficient energy possible. This will ensure that private dollars continue to flow into a sound investment that will generate power for the new grid.  But government needs to provide the bridge that will help our new innovation economy grow,” said Tonko. “This bill does just that making the needed investment to help private industry perfect wind energy, and bring those advances in technology and cost savings to market.”
According to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2008 report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030, North Dakota, Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, and Montana have the greatest wind energy potential and are measured to produce over a billion megawatt-hours of energy resources per year. Today’s proportion of U.S. electric generation of power from wind is less than 2 percent, but has the potential to be 20 percent or more. This increase would require improvements in wind turbine technology, forecasting capability, energy storage, and the expansion of transmission systems.
Today, solar energy makes up the largest global energy resource. Currently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 158 active solar applications which, if they are approved, have enough projected capacity to provide almost a third of the nation’s household electricity alone. Although solar energy is widely used, the industry faces a number of challenges to achieving a significant, stable domestic energy supply for U.S. consumers while also meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
Overall, the performance of wind and solar energy systems has the potential to be substantially more efficient, cost-effective, and reliable.
“By investing in these renewable technologies, we are investing in our future.  We need to upgrade our transmission lines, and make a commitment to the next generation of energy infrastructure which will need to include solar and wind energy.  Embracing these ideas will create green jobs here in United States and play a leading role in combating the growing threats of global overheating and ocean acidification,” said Baird.
For more information, visit the Committee’s website.


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